Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador
Insiders, compare how you felt last year at the end of preseason vs. how you feel at the end of this year's preseason. Are you more optimistic regarding the 2017 season vs. 2016's expectations? Less optimistic? About the same?
When there are no major injuries to be concerned about, it feels the same.
Andrew from Tilleda, WI
With all the handoffs by the backup QBs, I assume they had their minds made up at that position and were more interested in sorting out the running game.
The plan was obviously to have Hundley throw a bunch, and then run the heck out of the ball in the second half.
Jake from Lake Grove, NY
I guess watching the Packers punt this season won't be all that bad. Justin Vogel looks like the real deal.
I think he nailed down the job last night.
Jerry from Wilmington, NC
How do you like the Rams' new, old-school uniforms? It looks like the Green Bay coaches have some tough choices when it comes to the running backs.
I don’t know why they ever went away from the yellow horns and jersey trim from the Jerome Bettis era, and I think the Packers might just keep all three of those draft picks at running back. It’s wait-and-see time.
Jason from Kent, OH
What did you take away from the final preseason game?
Disbelief that Dan Orlovsky is (was?) still in the league. The Rams resting their top two QBs didn’t really help the Packers’ cause.
Corey from Albuquerque, NM
Should we read anything into the fact that Kerridge was a scratch, while Ripkowski played?
Kerridge had a calf injury.
Greg from Ann Arbor, WI
It looks like Joe Kerridge had received significantly more playing time this preseason than Aaron Ripkowski. Should this worry fans of “Da Rippah,” or is it more a function of the Packers already knowing what they have in Ripkowski and trying to give Kerridge every opportunity to make the team as well?
The latter was my read on it.
Jordan from Osterdock, IA
Since teams send scouts to all preseasons games, are they given a spot to watch the game or do they sit in the stands?
They normally get seats in the press box.
Nathan from Baltimore, MD
Any players placed on IR between now and the cut-down deadline are not eligible to be reactivated this season, right? How many of them typically stay on IR all year, and how many get released with injury settlements?
The updated designated-to-return rules don’t require the player to be on the 53-man roster first before going to IR. It was like that originally, but not anymore. (Correction: This rule was not changed. The player does have to be on the 53 first. I apologize I answered with incorrect information.)
Gary from Murrieta, CA
When a team cuts a player, can they tell him at that time he will be on the practice squad if he clears waivers?
They can tell him they’re interested in offering him a practice-squad contract if he clears waivers, and they often do. It’s still up to the player to accept the offer, or potentially weigh other ones, when the time comes.
Sam from Lebanon, NH
The backup offensive line is obviously cause for concern, especially at tackle. Murphy looks just OK, and Spriggs reminds me of John Michels. Do you think TT might bring in a vet who gets released?
Maybe, but plenty of teams need better starters at offensive tackle and would swoop in to snatch up a veteran who can still play. I wouldn’t count on it. I expect the Packers to continue developing Murphy and Spriggs, and if needed, Barclay could be another option at tackle once he’s healthy.
Chris from Jackson, WI
I'm not as worried about the offensive line as many others seem to be. Sure, as a collective unit the second O-line has been underwhelming so far, but barring some unprecedented catastrophe, when will all five players be on the field at the same time during the regular season? If injuries arise and you have to fill in a player or two, the rest of the starting O-line should be able to provide additional support. And truth is, the Packers have one of the best O-lines in the league.
The only time in recent years I saw injuries up front derail a game was late in the 2015 season, at Arizona, when the Packers lost both offensive tackles. Other than that, single voids have more than adequately been filled by coaching, development and, at times, scheme.
Steve from Flagstaff, AZ
If Biegel goes on PUP, when can he be activated to the regular-season roster? Does he have to be out a number of weeks or can the Packers take him off PUP at any time?
Starting the regular season on PUP shelves a player for a minimum of six weeks. Then, a three-week window starts within which the player must begin practicing to be eligible to be activated. Once the player practices, a three-week window begins to put him on the active roster, or he is out for the season.
Mike from Whitefish, MT
The investment of up to $5 million in cap space by a GM who is historically reticent to spend on FAs, particularly 33-year-old ones, has me wondering about the true severity of the injuries to Matthews, Perry and Elliott, and the timeline for Biegel's recovery. It also doesn't speak positively to Fackrell's readiness to contribute in the regular season. How do you see this impacting our ability to re-sign Clinton-Dix, Linsley, Adams and, eventually, Aaron Rodgers?
You have to protect yourself depth-wise, even if the injuries aren’t serious, but particularly with two of them the potentially recurring type. Saturday’s roster decision on Biegel will tell us what we need to know there. Financially, I don’t see the signing throwing a major wrench into anything, not with the cap room the Packers normally have and the way the cap keeps going up. It does add another player on a one-year deal (along with House, Evans, and Elliott) to the list of offseason decisions – those you mentioned, plus some others. Also, just to clarify, the Packers bought themselves another year on Clinton-Dix by exercising his fifth-year option.
Austin from Atlanta, GA
The Ahmad Brooks signing might be bigger than the Martellus Bennett signing. Rodgers always seems to make things work out on offense, but our OLB situation was pretty tenuous with all the injuries and having to count on Matthews and Perry to stay healthy. Brooks is durable, proven, and provides great insurance at an important position.
Look at where the veteran additions have been brought in. Tight end, a position McCarthy loves that played a huge role in the offense taking flight last season when Cook returned from injury. Plus corner and edge rusher, two linchpin spots in any defense, where veteran upgrades can make an instant difference. The guard signing doesn’t necessarily fit the mold, but it was the one spot the Packers were replacing a Pro Bowler. Thompson didn’t just spend money for the sake of spending it. It was targeted and calculated.
Heather from Green Bay, WI
So why was Brooks available?
Because he had lost the competition with a younger player for the starting strong-side linebacker job in San Francisco’s 4-3 scheme, which was new to him, and the 49ers weren’t interested in paying his salary to a backup.
Sean from Portland, ME
What's your depth chart for corners going into Week 1? Let's assume House is healthy enough to play.
I can’t read Joe Whitt’s mind, but I think House and King are the top boundary corners, while Randall and Rollins are the top slot guys, both capable of moving outside if needed. With King missing last night’s game with a groin injury, I don’t know what that means for how the Packers will line up Week 1.
Mike from Kamloops, BC
This is a statement. Packers host the NFC Championship Game if two things happen. Montgomery gets 1,200 combined yards and the linebacker unit combined gets 30 sacks. If those two totals are not achieved, get your dice ready.
I don’t think statistical ultimatums or benchmarks mean much, except in the win column, and my dice will be ready regardless.
Myke from Janesville, WI
Reading ESPN's interview with Aaron Rodgers was enlightening and a sports interview that kept the legend status to a minimum. Rodgers came off as a centered, competitive, and thoughtful human being. Like the rest of us. People create legends to collect dust on their mantles. Don't you guys see more of the “real” Rodgers, than we do?
I find Rodgers incredibly insightful and interesting when he opens up, yet I don’t fault him for not doing so all the time. When he does, you know it’s genuine. Nothing he said shocked me to any great degree, but I didn’t want the story to end. I think that speaks to both his personality and the writer’s ability to convey it.
Matthew from Waukesha, WI
Aaron's comments on the Kaepernick question politicizes the Green Bay Packers. This was the last straw causing me and my family to turn off our TV to NFL football and the Green Bay Packers. Goodbye all football.
It’s a free country.
Colin from Plymouth, UK
Hey guys, this is always my least favorite time of year. I just wanted to thank all the guys who don't make it and wish them success in whatever comes next.
It’s a cold-hearted business at times. Nature of the beast. In fact, since the Packers don’t hold any press conferences on cut-down day, I intentionally do my work from home, so I don’t have to bump into anyone in the hallway. I wouldn’t know what to say.
Tony from Aurora, CO
Glancing through the luncheon pics, I recognize Bennett, then immediately assume he's hanging out, maybe, with a couple RBs. Nope, it's Kendricks and R. Rodgers, who are plenty big themselves. Are you guys acclimated to seeing these mountainous men, or do you still have moments of amazement?
I hadn’t been in awe of any player’s physical presence for a while until I first saw Julius Peppers in 2014. Then the first time I saw Bennett this spring, my reaction was similar. There are big guys, and then there are physical marvels.
Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI
Reviewing tape is always mentioned. Whose job is it to categorize all the footage? How is it sorted? It seems like a daunting task to prepare everything.
The Packers have three full-time people in the video department, and their jobs never stop. Everything can be sorted digitally in various ways – by player, by opponent (team or individual), by down and distance, by formation, etc.
Brian from Lorimor, IA
Not a question. I love the “Rock Report”!
Now that “Three Things” has wrapped up for another summer, the “Rock Report” takes over as the best two-minute Packers fix anywhere.
Ken from Long Beach, CA
Guys, with the Bears needing wide receivers and the Packers having a surplus of talent it would be crushing to see Chicago sign any of them. Does knowing a division rival’s needs influence TT’s decisions on who to keep on the 53?
No. If a player isn’t good enough to make your 53, you shouldn’t be afraid of playing against him.
Zak from Huntington Beach, CA
Hey guys, if a player with the ball chooses to step out of bounds in order to avoid a hit/tackle from a defender, does the defender still get statistical credit for a tackle?
Colin from Lansdale, PA
How many plugs are we going to get for these bush-league side stories? We're here for one thing and one thing only, Insider Inbox! Keep up the good work, gentlemen.
I try to throw story links into the column once in a while to prevent repetition. We appreciate your patronage elsewhere on the site as well.
Kevin from Long Beach, CA
Stafford's contract basically confirmed quarterbacks such as Rodgers, Brees, and Brady are worth $30-plus million a year. How long will it be before we see a fully guaranteed contract? Do you think quarterbacks would entertain a lower offer (say $4-5 million less a year) if the contract is fully guaranteed?
I doubt it, unless he knows for sure it’s his last deal.
Theodore from St. Louis, MO
Keith Hernandez on Seinfeld.
Aw, man. How could I overlook the magic loogie?
Garrett from New Berlin, WI
Mike, Wes has his Thrones. Your non-football specialty is...?
It was “Seinfeld,” until Theodore put me to shame.
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